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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Enugu massacre: Tragedy of Internal migration - NaijaAgroNet

In this piece, REMMY NWEKE, revisits the Enugu massacre of 2016 and called for justice for the victims forced into internal migration by Fulani herdsmen despite clues based on technological evidence, over three years after.
Dateline is April 25, 2019. Obulum is a four-year old boy literally discovered after his mother, a widow and two sisters were killed during recent attacks by the Fulani herdsmen in his community in South Eastern part of Nigeria. He could be one of the 541,000 newly displaced as at December 2018, according to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, reports NaijaAgroNet.

As he continued to wander about, members of the security agencies and international aid organisation picked him and sent to the nearby camp for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), thus began his internal migration journey.

With the UNICEF's support, 272,316 IDPs including 121,135 children under the age of 5 were reached with integrated primary health care (PHC) services in health facilities in IDP camps and host communities in the three northeast states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. This figure is out of the 4.5 million children in need of humanitarian assistance according to Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP July 2018), whereas 7.7 million people were in need within same period.

What’s Internal Migration:
Internal migration, according to experts at open source encyclopedia, Wikipedia, is human migration within one geopolitical entity, usually a nation-state. Internal migration ordinarily could be travel for education and for economic improvement or because of a natural disaster or civil disturbance, which often is the case in Nigeria.

NaijaAgroNet gathered that Internal displacement affects some 25 million people worldwide, thus increasingly recognized as one of the most tragic phenomena of the contemporary world, with attendant traumatic experiences arising from violent conflicts, gross violations of human rights and related causes in which discrimination features significantly; displacement nearly always generates conditions of severe hardship and suffering for the affected populations.

“It breaks up families, cuts social and cultural ties, terminates dependable employment relationships, disrupts educational opportunities, denies access to such vital necessities as food, shelter and medicine, and exposes innocent persons to such acts of violence as attacks on camps, disappearances and rape,” the UN Guiding Principles highlighted, pointing out that whether clustered in camps, escape into the countryside to hide from potential sources of persecution and violence or submerge into the community of the equally poor and dispossessed, the internally displaced are among the most vulnerable populations, desperately in need of protection and assistance.

Obulum, may pass for an internal migrant child from Nimbo, a border town in Uzo-Uwani area of Enugu State in the Nigeria’s South East; where some seven villages- Ekwuru, Nimbo-Ngwoko, Ugwuijoro, Ebor, Enugu-Nimbo, Umuome and Ugwuachara were invaded, and scores massacred by over 500 armed Fulani herdsmen, who are rated the fourth deadliest terror group in the world, in the early hours of April 25, 2016.
NaijaAgroNet gathered that Uzo-Uwani has boundaries with the Southern States of Ebonyi and Anambra, and Central States of Benue and Kogi, where these attacks have increased lately till date.

For Enugu State governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, the Nimbo terrorism happened due to inability of security agencies to successfully act on the counter intelligence report about herdsmen grouping at neighbouring Odolu in Kogi State in preparation for attack.

Igbo social cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo led by Dr Nnia Nwodo, expressed dismay over the seemingly security lapses which led to the terror attack and likelihood of another attack. They asked the government to carry out thorough investigation to bring those responsible to justice and forestall further occurrences. Declaring “Imeobi views with grave concern and unequivocally condemns the recent slaughter by Fulani herdsmen of our defenseless kith and kin in Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State.

The herdsmen, 
NaijaAgroNet reportedly gathered, were bent on occupying a portion of the farming community's land for cattle grazing plotted the attack, and went on to notify the natives about their invasion on April 23, 2016, two days before. This intelligence was promptly reported to security agencies who met but definitely did nothing. However, at about 5.15 am on April 25, 2016, the armed herdsmen numbering over 500 struck killing 40 people. The following day, April 26, 2016, six more bodies were recovered and 14 victims were lying critically ill at Royal Cross Hospital, Nsukka, Nsukka District General Hospital and Bishop Shanahan Hospital, Nsukka.

During the raid, a church, known as Christ Holy Church International, (AKA Odozi-Obodo), at Onu-Eke and 11 houses were burnt by the marauders, resulting in displaced natives fleeing to neighboring communities of Nkpologu and Uvuru, (Uvuru-Agada) even as indigenes of those communities also fled to Nsukka in fear of further attacks.

Invasion of Ukpabi-Nimbo community, known as ‘Enugu Massacre’ by Fulani herdsmen followed similar massacre of hundreds of natives in another farming community, Agatu, Benue State by the same herdsmen, a few weeks before.

There was invasion of neighbouring Abbi, another Uzo Uwani community, by some 30-masked Fulani herdsmen leaving about 19 persons missing and seven houses and motocycles raised.

Still on dateline, April 25, 2016:
Elsewhere on this day, April 25, 2016, in the United States, the known world super power, deployed some 250 more U.S. troops to Syria, and launched cyberattacks on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In Israel, the youngest Palestinian prisoner aged 12, Ms Dima al-Wawi was freed after pleading guilty on attempted manslaughter after approaching an Israeli West Bank settlement with a knife in February of same year. The fact remains she was a victim of the war between Israel and Palestine for some 52 years as the time of filing this report.

EU Intervention:
So, it was not out of place that the European Union (EU) recently pledged to support Nigeria to stem the tide of irregular migration, as affirmed by the Media Officer, EU Mission in Nigeria, Mr Modestus Chukwulaka, who informed NaijaAgroNet in Enugu, capital of Enugu State recently that EU would also work for the integration of returning migrants. Stressing that the union would through political dialogue and development cooperation with the government deal with drivers of irregular migration. Disclosing that the collaboration would equally unravel the long-term and structural root causes and forced displacement of migrants, especially collaborating with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In view to facilitating sustainable reintegration of returning migrants, he said, in April 2017, the EU through its Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) launched the Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Africa (JIMPRA) with IOM. Noting for instance that within the framework of the joint initiative, 12, 974 stranded Nigerian migrants have been assisted to return to their home country, including 1,158 in 2019. Emphasising that the initiative, wholly funded by EU aims at improving migrant protection, voluntary return and reintegration. It is being implemented by the IOM in collaboration with Nigerian government.

He further said, JIMPRA was anchored on the principles of saving lives, protecting and assisting migrants along migration routes by way of employing actions that are rights-based and protection-focused to ensure the dignity and safety of the assisted people in line with international standards.

“The initiative ensures that the migration process is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities of origin,” he said, pointing out that saving and protecting the lives of migrants and refugees, breaking the business model of smugglers and traffickers and providing legal pathways were at the heart of EU’s policy. NaijaAgroNet reports that the Head, EU delegation in Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mr Ketil Karlsen assured on resolution of EU to address the root causes of irregular migration, insisting that migration ought to happen out of aspiration, not desperation. Insisting, EU works in all areas of migration in Nigeria, including migration management, labour migration, irregular migration, return and reintegration, mobility and international protection.

UN Guiding Principle on Internal Migration:
The international community, NaijaAgroNet gathered, has become gradually aware of the plight of the internally displaced, thereby taken steps to address their needs via provision of the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Thus paving way for a compilation of human rights and humanitarian law relevant to internally displaced persons, since 1993, at the instance of the Commission on Human Rights, prior Representative of the Secretary-General on internally displaced persons, Francis M. Deng, who prepared the first study on existing law and provided broad protection for the rights of internally displaced persons, in spite of obvious gray areas and gaps.

In Nigeria, for instance, this guideline has been translated into at least some four languages in Nigeria, including Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba and Fulfude outside the English language out of the 53 global languages for ease of understanding.

Accordingly, the Representative of focused the activities of his mandate on developing appropriate normative and institutional frameworks for the protection and assistance of the internally displaced, undertaking country missions in an ongoing dialogue with Governments and others concerned, and promoting a systemic international response to the plight of internally displaced populations, despite lack of capacity in discharging the responsibility. On the other hand, it is fair to say that the international community is more inclined than prepared, both normatively and institutionally, to respond effectively to the phenomenon of internal displacement.

Working in close collaboration in 1996 with a team of international legal experts, the Representative prepared a Compilation and Analysis of Legal Norms relevant to the needs and rights of the internally displaced and to the corresponding duties and obligations of States and the international community for protection and assistance.

NaijaAgroNet noted that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has since developed a manual, based on the Compilation and Analysis, for the practical use of its staff, especially in field operations. As there are indications that other organizations and agencies emulated UNHCR.

As the anniversary has come and gone unannounced, with the only known report of any investigations over the April 25, 2016 attack on Uzo-Uwani communities, was the five-man arrest reportedly made on May 2016, barely a month after by the operatives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP’s) Intelligence Response Team (IRT) viz: Mohammed Zurai, Ciroma Musa, Sale Adamu, Suleiman Laute and Haruna Laute, and recovered one Gionee L88 mobile phone with a memory card containing the video recording of the massacre in the community.

As such no one has conclusively been brought to book yet and no seeming justice for the Nimbo victims like Obulum, who is now eight years, even as there are rumours that even the five suspects arrested since 2016 that nothing is heard of them again afterwards.

It’s hoped that EU pledge has come to fruition, but will the IDPs get the help earnestly needed to have a change of life, including the likes of Obulum, without misappropriation of the aids.

Maybe, domestication of the UN Guiding Principles on IDPs across 36 states of Nigeria will be a plus to understanding the enormity of conflict and internally displaced persons in our midst. While security agencies must take intelligence seriously and work with requisite information.

Above all, IDPs deserve better life like every one of us. After all, who knows tomorrow?

... Linking agrobiz, sustainable environs, people & technology

*The Fulani herdsmen arrested by Police on Enugu Massacre - Mohammed Zurai, Ciroma Musa, Sale Adamu, Suleiman Laute and Haruna Laute. Courtesy Punch.

1 comment:

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